BBC’s Emma to start filming in Chilham next week
Picturesque Chilham will provide the set for the BBCâ€™s latest costume drama, a four-part serialisation of Jane Austenâ€™s Emma.
Popular with location directors looking for a picture perfect English village, Chilham will stand in for the fictional village of Highbury in Surrey, the setting of Austenâ€™s romantic comedy tale of matchmaking gone awry.
The large scale production, the latest in a series of popular period dramas commissioned by the BBC, will feature veteran actor Michael Gambon as Emmaâ€™s neurotic father, and Train Spotting star Johnny Lee Miller as Emmaâ€™s friend Mr Knightley.
The title role will be taken by Romola Garai, star of Atonement and Daniel Deronda, and the production also features Green Wing star Tamsin Greig.
The four day shoot starts in Chilham next week when a BBC film crew will transform several streets, the churchyard and the central square into a 19th century village.
A fountain will be constructed in the centre of the square, while roads including Taylor Hill, Church Hill and The Street will be laid with a gravel covering to hide the street markings, with all vehicles removed from the affected area.
Parish councillor Yvonne White said: â€œItâ€™s very exciting. Chilham is quite often used for filming. Four years ago we had Agatha Christie team filming here, so people are used to a bit of inconvenience.
â€œBut the BBC crews are very good. Generally they compensate people for their trouble and are very accommodating, and try not to disrupt village life too much. Everyone enjoys it really.
â€œThe square is going to be closed to traffic because obviously it has to represent a picture perfect period village.â€
First published in December 1815, Emma follows the fortunes of the eponymous heroine as she attempts to set up her friends in love matches that donâ€™t always go to plan.
The novel has been adapted by award-winning writer Sandy Welch, who is responsible for a string of BBC hits including Our Mutual Friend, Jane Eyre, and North And South.
This production will be the first time Emma has been screened as a serialisation since the 1970s.
The novelâ€™s last screen outings were both in 1996 when ITV made a single-episode drama, starring Kate Beckinsale and Mark Strong, while Gwyneth Paltrow starred as Emma in an Oscar-nominated film version by Miramax the same year.
POSTED: 08/04/2009 06:00:00